Exclusive: Time for DoD to Overhaul its Muslim Chaplain Program

by MARGARET CALHOUN HEMENWAY December 14, 2009
The Federal Bureau of Investigation’s Director Mueller announced that former FBI Director, Judge William Webster (who also served as head of the CIA), will be leading an investigation of Army psychiatrist, Major Hasan’s bloody rampage at Fort Hood last month, the worst mass killing ever on a U.S. military base. The Webster investigation will supplement an internal investigation already underway by the Army.
 
News that the FBI had seen e-mails between Major Hasan and a radical imam (Muslim cleric) now overseas in Yemen, Anwar Al-Awlaki, since December 2008 (critical information evidently not shared with the Army) may have prompted the FBI Director to engage his predecessor for an outside critique of the agency’s performance. The imam, Hasan and two of the 9/11 hijackers have all been linked to the Dar Al-Hijrah mosque in Falls Church, Virginia, a Washington, D.C. suburb. The Muslim cleric was imam at the Falls Church mosque where Hasan reportedly attended services in 2001 and where his mother’s funeral service was held. Awlaki’s blog declares the Fort Hood killer to be a “hero” and says “Nidal Hasan did the right thing.” The FBI has already raided the mosque in Killeen, Texas, near Fort Hood, where at least one youthful attendee, reported to have been cultivated by Hasan, expressed sympathy with the killing spree.
 
Judge Webster should take a hard look at a DoD Inspector General investigation published in 2004 which recommended that DoD or the Department of Justice perform background checks on religious organizations and their chaplain endorsing agents before vetting a chaplain. This IG report indicates opposition from DoD’s Office of General Counsel to this proposal, but despite this, the IG (then Joseph Schmitz, a former naval intelligence officer) argued for DoD to request a law enforcement type review in cases of probable cause regarding criminal activities, adding, “It may be reasonable to establish a screening process similar to the federal Bureau of Prisons that routinely canvases existing FBI databases for adverse information concerning religious organizations and chaplain endorsers.
 
It would shock most Americans to learn that DoD’s own Muslim chaplain program was birthed by a convicted terrorist and remains tainted today, eight years after 9/11, by Islamic terrorist affiliations. 
 
A Senate hearing in October 2003 illustrated how well-connected and funded Islamist radicals designed the credentialing program for Muslim chaplains for the Department of Defense. Terrorist financier and prominent Muslim Brotherhood operative, Abdurahman Alamoudi, serving a prison sentence of 23 years, established the first such program with his Armed Forces and Veterans Affairs Office of the American Muslim Council. 
 
The first interfaith iftar dinner (devout Muslims are not to drink or eat from dawn to dusk during the holy month of Ramadan; the iftar meal breaks the fast) was held in the Pentagon in 1998 with Clinton Deputy Secretary of Defense John Hamre as the dinner speaker; Muslims on active duty were expressly invited to attend. Years of misguided Muslim “outreach” efforts like this that included imams from extremist mosques in the Washington, D.C. vicinity, initiated and directed by suspect terrorist front groups, has not stopped Islamic extremism – indeed, it may have enabled these same extremists to control and manipulate DoD leadership in terms of their understanding and perceptions of Islamic extremism and strategy in the Global War on Terrorism. Such governmental "top cover" for Muslim extremists may have also discouraged rank and file law enforcement officers from aggressively discharging their duties to infiltrate radical groups and prevent further terrorist attacks on U.S. soil.
 
After Alamoudi was sent to federal prison, female Muslim convert Ingrid Mattson, director of the Macdonald Center for the Study of Islamic Studies and Christian-Muslim Relations at the Hartford Seminary in Connecticut, assumed the mantle for credentialing Muslim chaplains for U.S. prisons and the military. (The Armed Forces require chaplain candidates to take 72 credit hours from Dr. Mattson's program.)
 
Mattson also heads Islamic Society of North America (ISNA), declared an “unindicted co-conspirator” by the Department of Justice stemming from DOJ’s efforts, post 9/11, to root out money laundering and terrorism support domestically, which resulted in the landmark 2008 Holy Land Foundation trial, the largest terrorism trial in U.S. history of what had been the largest Muslim charity operating in America. Maj. Hasan also attended services at the Muslim Community Center in Silver Spring, Maryland and was friends with the imam there, the main prayer leader, who is also, coincidentally, a board member of ISNA.
 
Judge Webster, if he is to succeed in trying to prevent more treasonous, terrorist attacks like that at Fort Hood, needs a clear-headed approach to dealing with imams who are often the motivators behind suicide bombers and those enlisting in jihad. He should start with the little-publicized recommendations made by the Department of Defense IG Office that tragically, were not implemented at the time.
 
With 13 dead at Fort Hood and many other victims still recovering from injuries, Americans must be wondering how many others – sleeper agents, closet Islamists, or open Islamist sympathizers, as Hasan appeared to be – are in military uniform and at risk of plotting another lethal attack. A necessary first step is to overhaul the military’s Muslim chaplain and outreach program to eliminate ties to terrorist groups, terrorist sympathizers and the intellectual enablers of jihad. 
 
FamilySecurityMatters.org Contributing Editor Margaret Calhoun Hemenway spent fifteen years on Capitol Hill, in both the House and Senate, and five years as a White House Appointee serving President Bush at both DoD and NASA.
 

blog comments powered by Disqus

FSM Archives

10 year FSM Anniversary

More in PUBLICATIONS ( 1 OF 25 ARTICLES )